Started welding chinese, then got my hands on a miller
Im in kuwait and I learned welding on a chinese AC Stick welding machine. cant remember the brand name. but it cost all of $80 NEW. uses 220v (standard power here) and did up to 180 amps. I was using about 130A most of the time (or so the machine said) using 1/8inch rod. Learning curve was pretty steep couldnt weld for shit the first few weeks. Then when i got the hang of it i could well pretty good a few months in but theres always some sort of imperfection every inch or so of bead. just couldnt get around it no matter how hard i tried.
I didnt weld for about 2 years and the welder stopped working damage from humidity or something i guess. and i bought another welder for $140 this time round again AC only but it could do up to 230A. relearned the whole thing but used 2.5mm (metric is good) rod. but i had no idea how many amps coz the dial was way off whack it said about 80 something amp set at minimum when it was supposed to do down to 40. so i just set it by feel. it was better than the last machine did longer nice beads but still couldnt do it perfect.. always thought it was me that couldnt maintain correct arc length or move at a good pace.
I decided to go to college last year doing engineering and fabrication. So when it came time to weld I got to use a miller. once i got the hang of it . perfect welds the whole way thru, everytime. especially on mondays. I enjoy welding but the miller made me look forward to it alot more. we were using Miller thunderbolt AC machines. Using 2.5mm rod.
Miller 10 - China 1 sure they were cheap, great to learn on but not really useful.
Im now saving up for a Miller AC/DC 300/200 Thunderbolt. I work on cars pretty often. and i still use that last chinese welder whenever i come accros siezed Iron bolts when I lose hope and it does the job fine but thats about it....its still a bit of a pain but whatever.
hope that helps. maybe i just bought the worst kind of chinese welder. it was all i could afford at the time but its an experience that has put me off them for life. I was looking a reasonably priced Deca welder (apparently its Italian) but just thinking about those chinese welders writing this. Im just going for the Miller.
Used a lincoln in college too.. theyre ok..but miller just felt smoother. more user friendly